James C. Finley

B.S. Forest Science, 1970; M.S. Forest Resources, 1975

James C. Finley earned a B.S. in Forest Science in 1970 and began his career with three years of employment as a research aide with the USDA Forest Service at the Northern Area Research Station in Broomall, PA.  In 1975 he completed a master’s degree in forest resources at Penn State and was hired by the University as an area extension educator in Dushore, PA.  In 1981 he joined the School of Forest Resources faculty at University Park and since then has continued to conduct research and extension education programs on sustainable forest resource management focusing on private forestland.  In 1991 he completed his doctoral degree in Extension Education.

Jim currently leads the Pennsylvania’s Forest Stewardship outreach program and its interaction with 29 county forest landowner associations.  He coordinates the 450-member Pennsylvania Forest Stewards volunteer program, and serves as the School of Forest Resources’ extension program coordinator.  His primary research efforts include oak regeneration, human dimensions of natural resources, and sustainable forestry.  

He is currently the co-chair of the USDA National Roundtable on Sustainable Forestry;  he is immediate past chair and a director for the Sustainable Forest Partnership, a consortium of 12 universities;  co-chair of Penn State’s Human Dimensions of Natural Resources and the Environment dual title, inter-college degree program at Penn State; and senior research fellow for the Pinchot Institute for Conservation.  He serves on the Western Pennsylvania Conservancy and Eden Hill Conservancy boards.  During his tenure with Penn State he has served on numerous committees for the Bureau of Forestry, other state and federal agencies, and organizations focused on forests and people.

Jim is an active member of the Society of American Foresters (SAF) , the Association of Natural Resources Extension Professionals, and the International Association for Society and Natural Resources.  In 2006, he co-chaired the program for the Society of American Foresters National Meeting.  

He has been honored with many awards including the Pennsylvania Forestry Association Rothrock Award in 1986 and the Sandy Cochran Award in 2000, the Nonindustrial Private Forest Education Award in 2000, SAF Fellow in 2003, and the College of Agricultural Sciences Leadership Award in 2007.

Jim is an avid woodworker and has donated pieces to benefit the Pennsylvania Forestry Association and the College of Agricultural Sciences Alumni Society as well as other conservation-centered organizations and community projects.  Together, with his wife Linda, they are active supporters of the Pennsylvania Forestry Association and the State College Presbyterian Church.

Jim and Linda reside near Port Matilda, PA.  Jim’s son Andrew is on the forestry faculty at Michigan State University; h e and his wife Sarah have two children, Ava and Oliver.